Posts

content marketing strategy

6 Steps to Building a Successful, Profitable, Results-Focused Content Marketing Strategy

I’m often asked the same question – how did Express Writers get where we are today?

The journey to becoming a leading content creation and writing agency wasn’t easy.

It came with all the sacrifices you’d expect – long hours, lack of sleep, and learning from every ups and downs I encountered.

But if I were to point to one thing that made our approach to content marketing so successful, I could sum it up in a single word – strategy.

I’d been in the business of creating content for years. However, great content wasn’t enough to get us to a seven-figure status. For that, it required a strategic approach to researching, building, and promoting content that audiences can benefit from.

I’ve got an entire book and a comprehensive course about content marketing strategy – but today, I’ll give you a preview in the form of a six-step process you can start implementing right away.

build a content marketing strategy

6 Steps to Build Your Winning Content Marketing Strategy

1.    Define Strategy and How it Relates to Content Marketing

2.    Understand Your Audience and How to Reach Them

3.    SEO: Learn It, Master It, Implement It

4.    Build Brand Authority (and Use It)

5.    Combine Strategy with Content Creation

6.    Keep the Momentum with Smart Content Management

@JuliaEMcCoy shares the 6 best steps to build your winning #contentmarketingstrategy 🏆 Click To Tweet

content shop

1. Defining Content Marketing Strategy: Framework for Success

Content marketing is undoubtedly a must-have in the modern marketer’s toolkit. The numbers don’t lie.

Over 90% of B2B marketers use content marketing, and over 85% of B2C marketers call it a key strategy.

But in terms of content marketing strategy, also called content strategy for short, we’re talking about a process that begins with planning and extends all the way through management.

Defining Content Marketing Strategy: Framework for Success

Content strategy could be thought of as your knowledge base for creating and promoting great content.

It involves knowing the following:

  • What is your area of expertise where you can offer the most valuable information?
  • What is your differentiating factor that makes you stand out from other content marketers?
  • Who is the audience you’re trying to reach and what are they looking for?

Strategy will help your content get discovered easier, stand out better, and deliver results more efficiently. I’m talking real results – traffic, leads, subscribers, and of course, ROI.

Over 90% of B2B marketers use #contentmarketingstrategy, and over 85% of B2C marketers call it a key strategy. 🔑- @JuliaEMcCoy Click To Tweet

2. Who Is Your Audience? How Can You Reach Them?

One of the main struggles many content marketers face is something I went through, too. Pumping out blogs every day and sending out emails to everyone on my list – trust me, I’ve been there. It’s a content rat race.

Roughly 60% of people find consistency to be one of the hardest parts of content creation. If you want to see more results from each piece of content you publish, make sure you know your audience.

The key to knowing others is to know yourself.

That isn’t just a philosophical-sounding word salad. It’s the foundation behind building a successful content marketing strategy framework.

How does your current audience view you? Where in the marketing lifecycle do most of your audience members land?

fundamentals of online writing

Remember, today’s “buyer journey” looks a lot different than the funnel of yesteryear. You can’t always predict what stage your buyer will be at. Their footsteps could lead backward, forward, up, down, and all around before they make a final decision.

sales funnel marketing lifecycle pathway

A content marketing strategy is about making sure your content gets to the people who could benefit most from it.

They’re out there. They want to learn your knowledge, buy your products, and become ambassadors of your brand. The seven-figure question is, how do you reach them?

Roughly 60% of people find consistency to be one of the hardest parts of content creation. If you want more out of each piece of content, make sure you know your audience. - @JuliaEMcCoy Click To Tweet

3. Understanding SEO: A Cornerstone of Content Marketing and Strategy

Content marketing and content strategy are forever intertwined – and search engine optimization (SEO) plays a major role in both.

From a strategic perspective, knowing what your target audience is inputting into search engines is a great way to help them find your content.

With the right keyword strategy, you can climb search rankings and get more traffic to your content. Good SEO practices involve having the right keywords – plus having them in the right frequency and the right places.

There’s an added benefit to understanding SEO. Not only will your content get more views, it will get quality views.

People won’t just find it by accident and think “what the heck is this?”

They’ll find it and think, “this is just what I was looking for.”

With the right keyword strategy, you can climb search rankings and get more traffic. Good SEO practices involve having the right keywords – in the right frequency and the right place. - @JuliaEMcCoy Click To Tweet

4. Build Authority for Your Content, Brand, and Website

The benefit of having good strategy is that people who are looking for your content can find it – and luckily for us content marketers, search engines pick up on that sort of thing.

When your content consistently gets good views, repeated engagement, and positive feedback, it gains authority. What does this mean? Your content will be viewed as more trustworthy, and therefore able to rank higher.

Authority also means search engines could give you priority in some cases – we don’t fully understand the inner-workings of Google, we do know they prioritize older sites with a lot of credible links. The more great content (backed by strategy) you have, the better you’ll do.

I like to explain the concept of building online authority like a content house. The stronger your website is (and remember, you need to build on your house – not someone else’s platform), the better and stronger your presence and house is. With good copy on your site, and a good user experience (speed, design), you create a welcoming house that is warm and vibrant, attracting the right people inside. With consistency of content creation and maintenance, you fix all the issues and maintain a strong house over time.

content house and content differentiation factor

What you need to build online authority 🏡: good copy with credible links, good user experience, consistency of content creation, and maintenance. - @JuliaEMcCoy on her steps to build an effective #contentstrategy Click To Tweet

5. Combine Content Marketing Strategy with Content Creation

The entire point of developing a solid strategy is so you can implement it – and you do that by using it as a starting point for the creation process.

A good content marketing strategy and framework is the launchpad for any successful content piece. With the right strategy, you’ll know your audience, your keywords, your differentiating factor, and your overall goal.

Having these things in mind makes it much easier to write great content – it’s exponentially better than sitting down and trying to create a winning piece from a blank slate.

A good content marketing strategy and framework is the launchpad for any successful content piece... you’ll know your audience, your keywords, your differentiating factor, and your overall goal. - @JuliaEMcCoy Click To Tweet

6. Keep Your Momentum by Auditing and Promoting Your Content

Once you’ve got the hang of strategy and how to use it in the content creation process, the next step is to stay consistent.

You’ll need to budget your expenses and your time carefully. Make sure you’re auditing your content – is it up to date? Is everything polished, and optimized for success? Content marketing strategy in 2019 may be vastly different than strategy from a few years back – or a few years from now.

Auditing and updating your content makes sure it is fit to be promoted regularly. You’ll be able to advertise it on your social channels, to your email mailing list, and anywhere else you feel will be effective.

P.S. I created a short video recap of these 6 steps on YouTube and published it here on the Write Blog, not too long ago.

If you've got the hang of strategy, the next step is to stay consistent. Budget your expenses and time. ⏳ Make sure you’re auditing your content – is it up to date? Is everything polished, and optimized for success? - @JuliaEMcCoy on… Click To Tweet

You’ve Got the Basics – Now Master Content Marketing Strategy

A solid content marketing strategy is the foundation of successful content marketing. It’s the same as with anything – faulty foundations cause the most beautiful creations to crumble. Stable bases can be built on and trusted for years to come.

This six-step process to building and implementing a winning content marketing strategy can help anyone.

If you want more on this topic, sign up for my 100% FREE 60-minute content marketing masterclass. There are content strategy examples, guided tutorials, and much more – it’s a resource no marketer should miss.

And of course, if great content is something you need to fuel your content marketing strategy, we do that. Get in touch today!

content marketing strategy services

content marketing spread

How to Throw Down Your Best-Ever Content Marketing Spread: Thanksgiving Style (Infographic)

It’s Thanksgiving week, and content marketers around the U.S. are preparing for a delicious, tasty week of family, food and relaxation, and definitely no content marketing or strategy for at least a couple days. 😉

But in the days that lead up to T-Day, it’s wise to soak in all you can about creating your best content marketing strategy, so you return empowered and armed to take on your marketing for killer results.

We’re here with a fun map for you, just in time for the holiday:

How a perfect content marketing strategy is very much equal to the best Thanksgiving dinner you’ve ever partaken in.

To serve it up, you need the right recipes for success, tried-and-true tools and techniques, and winning dishes created with flair.

Here’s your ultimate guide, Thanksgiving-dinner style — baked and cooked up into a visually entertaining infographic by our team at Express Writers.

Enjoy! Don’t forget to share if you found this useful. And…happy Thanksgiving!

How to Throw Down Your Best-Ever Content Marketing Spread- Thanksgiving Style

How to Throw Down Your Best-Ever Content Marketing Spread: Thanksgiving Style (Infographic)

5-Star Content Dinner Tools and Equipment

For a five-star content “dinner,” you’ll need:

  • Planning
  • Creativity
  • Research
  • Strategy
  • Good-ol’ elbow grease

Don’t Forget:

Just like any great feast, your content meal should move seamlessly from course to course. Your audience should tuck in with vigor and keep coming back to refill their plates. If you can make your audience feel warm, happy, and content, not to mention implicitly trust your cooking skills, you have succeeded. Needless to say, you can’t wing this kind of perfection, but we’re here to guide you through.

Ready to learn how to create a legendary Thanksgiving content spread from start to finish? Put on your apron – let’s get cookin’.

Create a table-like design for the below

9 Essential Steps and Recipes for a Fabulous Content Marketing Feast

The time you spend carefully and lovingly preparing your content marketing feast will pay off tenfold. That dedication will carry through to your audience down to the very last bite-sized sentence.

Here’s how to make your content dinner table legendary:

Set the Table for Content Success

Every great content marketing spread begins with a perfectly set table.

Your place settings and decorations need to match up with what you know about your audience, your kitchen, and your food. This is how you create a foundation that sets off your whole spread.

Keys for setting the table and planning your content feast:

  • Who are the guests that could show up?
  • What are your specialties?
  • What kind of content will your guests prefer?
  • What tools will you need to serve them the right way? (Are your kitchen and pantry properly equipped?)

During the meal:

  • When your guests are happily chowing down, check in with them from time to time and see how they like the spread.
  • Continually go over your recipes and techniques. Measure, analyze, and update your methods for an even better dinner.

Now that the table settings are planned, you can get busy in the kitchen!

Whip Up an Audience-Pleasing Side – Mashed Potatoes or Dressing, Anyone?

Every delicious Thanksgiving content dinner should start with a crowd-pleaser. To make it, you must know your audience and what they’ll love.

  • To find out what will please your guests most, ask them!
  • You can also imagine your ideal dinner guest to decide what to serve them. Think of them as a real person with distinct preferences.
  • Once you figure out what your audience craves, you’ll whip up dishes so delicious, everybody will go back for seconds (and thirds).

Tip: Give the people what they want. Serve content that performs like whipped mashed potatoes, sausage and apple dressing, or green bean casserole. These disappear like magic into hungry bellies.

Prepare and Roast Your Content Creation Turkey

The meat of a fantastic content marketing spread is your content creation turkey. It’s the star of the show and the vehicle that drives the whole meal. As such, invest in the most high-quality bird you can afford.

  • The best content creation needs careful preparation, plus plenty of time in the oven. Give it an ample amount of both so the end result is incredibly juicy, succulent, and mouth-watering.
  • If you rush it or season it wrong, it will come out dry and tough to swallow.
  • Make enough content creation turkey to use the extra meat in guest blogs and other content types, and don’t forget the final spices: creativity, readability, and great writing.

Tip: To put your content creation over the top, add a special spice that is unique to you as a cook. Your content turkey will be irresistible, even if your guests can’t put their finger on the secret ingredient.

Simmer Perfect Keyword Gravy

What’s a content marketing spread without keyword gravy? The right amount really makes your entire meal sing.

This is the link juice that takes your content creation turkey to the next level and makes your meal more desirable. The scent alone should draw your guests to the table, and, depending on how well your keyword gravy flows, Google might add you to the top of their list of V.I.P. cooks.

Tips:

  • Be careful not to make too much or over-season it. You want just the right amount to drizzle and spoon over your content and tempt your guests.
  • Dump too much keyword gravy on the spread, and your audience won’t be able to taste any other flavor. Google, especially, will give your meal the thumbs-down.
  • Avoid a lumpy gravy by using only all-natural keywords.

Serve Fresh Cranberry Content Sauce

It’s time to finish off your content marketing main dishes. A sweet side of zingy, fresh cranberry content sauce is the perfect addition to a savory spread.

Tip: Cook up the freshest content you can for the best taste – try using ripe cranberries and a hint of orange zest for originality.

Canned, regurgitated content is no substitute for fresh. Your guests will surely turn up their noses at this inferior fare.

Send Out RSVPs to Promote Your Thanksgiving Content Feast

The main dishes of your content marketing dinner are now simmering, baking, cooking, and roasting. As soon as you pull the first finished dish from the oven, it’s time to send out RSVPs to promote your content.

  • Send out invites to your lavish content marketing spread on social media, email, and other promotional channels.
  • The more people who see your invites, the more guests you could end up serving. Get the word out there!
  • Take the time to cater your invites depending on your sending method.

Choose the Best Recipe for Engagement Pumpkin Pie

If your meal is high-quality and satisfying, your guests will definitely stick around to help themselves to dessert.

Serve your very best engagement pumpkin pie (spiced with enough ginger, cloves, and cinnamon to make it lively). Your audience can sit back and savor a sweet treat while they go over the finer points of the whole meal. The better the meal – and the better the pie – the better the engagement.

Tip: See our favorite pumpkin pie recipe, below, for a crowning glory for your Thanksgiving spread.

Your Feast Is a Smash! …Now What?

A successful Thanksgiving content marketing spread that’s well laid-out, tempting and delicious can put you on cloud nine.

Wait one second, though – you can’t hang up your apron and have a celebratory drink just yet (though helping yourself to pumpkin pie is absolutely warranted… and no one will notice if you sneak a swig or two of libations).

The meal is still going, and you want to keep it that way.

Keys to keeping the meal and conversation flowing:

  • Keep the food warmed up for late arrivals and those who want second helpings. Thankfully, these dishes taste just as good as leftovers.
  • If you do it right, this should be a long meal that never ends. Get cooks to help you in the kitchen, and start planning more dishes with the help of an editorial calendar.
  • Finally, check in with your kitchen and keep going over your table settings, presentation, recipes, and guest comments to keep improving and climb to five-star-chef status with Google.

And to “sweeten” it up, here’s a REAL recipe just for our readers!

Thanksgiving pie recipe

Express Writers’ Not Your Average Pumpkin Pie (Real Recipe!)

This spiced pumpkin pie is a true classic, but the method is a little different from the one on the back of your average can of pumpkin puree. It’s a little more flavorful and has a smoother, creamier filling. Plus, thanks to blind baking, the crust gets perfectly crisp. Enjoy!

This recipe makes one 8-9-inch pie.

Ingredients:

  • 1 (9-inch) unbaked pie crust
  • 1 (15-ounce) can pumpkin purée (about 2 cups)
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon cloves or allspice, or to taste
  • 3/4 cup whole milk
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions:

  1. Prepare the pie crust. Pre-heat the oven to 425°F. Roll out the pie dough and transfer to an 8 or 9-inch pie pan. Crimp the edges. Chill the crust while the oven preheats.
  2. Blind bake the crust. Line the inside of the crust with parchment paper or aluminum foil. Fill with pie weights or dried beans. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, or just until the edges turn golden. Remove the weights and lining, and bake for another 5 minutes. Remove from the oven.
  3. Prepare the filling. Combine the pumpkin purée, brown sugar, salt, and spices in a bowl. Mix until the brown sugar is completely incorporated. Whisk in the milk, cream, eggs, and vanilla until just combined.
  4. Fill the pie crust. Place your blind-baked pie crust on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Carefully pour the pumpkin filling into the crust. Be careful not to over-fill the pie.
  5. Bake the pie. Turn the oven heat down to 375°F. Transfer the baking sheet with the pie to the oven’s middle rack. Bake for 50 to 60 minutes. If the crust starts to darken too much, cover with a ring of aluminum foil and continue baking. When it’s done, the pie will be darker in color and may puff in the middle, and will jiggle a bit if you gently shake the pan.

The pie will continue to set as it cools. Let cool completely before serving with generous dollops of whipped cream.

content marketing strategy

#ContentWritingChat Recap: Content Marketing Strategy

Did you catch our latest #ContentWritingChat? We had our monthly community chat, which is when we skip having a guest host and allow our audience to choose the chat topic. We ran a poll the week before and the winning topic was Content Marketing Strategy!

If you could use some help putting together an effective content marketing strategy for your brand, you’re in the right place. We’ve compiled some of the tweets from this week’s chat into a handy dandy recap!

#ContentWritingChat Recap: Content Marketing Strategy

In Tuesday’s community chat, there were some amazing tips shared by our participants. You’ll learn the basics of a great content marketing strategy, tools and resources to help, and how to measure your success. Keep reading to check out all the advice!

Q1: Why is it important to have a content marketing strategy for your brand?

To kick off the chat, we asked everyone to share why they feel it’s important to have a content marketing strategy in place. If you need a little convincing that it’s worth the investment, you’ll want to read through these tweets!

As Julia said, a content marketing strategy is everything to the success of your content. When you have a strategy in place, you have a much better chance at succeeding in your work.

If you don’t have a strategy in place, how you can expect to make progress and reach your goals? Iain knows that having a strategy is a must.

When you have a strategy for your content marketing efforts, it provides the guidance you need to keep moving in the right direction.

A strategy helps define the purpose of your brand. Plus, it helps you break down all the steps required to help you reach your goals.

As Sarah said, you need a strategy for any kind of marketing you’re doing. This tells you what you’er aiming for so you can stay on the right path.

Having a strategy gives you measurable actions, cohesive messaging, and ensures you aren’t scrambling to throw something together at the last minute.

You can product much better content when you have everything planned out in advance. Plus, it’ll keep your entire team on the same page, which is very important.

Maureen said your content marketing strategy is the driving force behind the channels that do the outreach.

Q2: What are the essential elements of every successful content marketing strategy?

To get started with a strategy of your very own, you need to know where to begin. These are some essential elements you’ll want to have in place:

A great strategy all goes back to knowing who your audience is and understanding them.

Sarah feels good research, resources, and tracking are essential. She also pointed out that you need to know who your audience is and how to reach them. Don’t forget to set deadlines, meet them, and monitor your efforts.

Julia shared a helpful graphic of the four keys she teaches in her course!

Knowing who your audience is, what kind of content you’re going to share, and what your goals are make up just a few of the essentials of a great strategy.

Andrew also agrees that knowing your target audience is a must. He also mentioned that it’s important to know the desired outcome you hope to achieve, platforms you’re using, and more.

Mallorie said you need a defined objective and an understanding of your target audience. You also need to be able to adapt and make changes along the way if needed.

Cheval knows it’s important to listen to your audience to see what they’re chatting about. This is a great way to get to know them better.

Measurable goals, your target audience, tactics to reach the right people, and metrics to track progress are all essential.

Iain recommends setting SMART goals with your content marketing strategy.

Q3: What kind of goals might a brand set for their content marketing efforts? Which ones do you focus on?

Every brand is going to have different goals for their content marketing strategy. However, if you’re just getting started, you might wonder what kind of goals they often set out to reach. Here are some great tips from the chat:

As Sarah pointed out, the goals you set will depend on your business objectives. Either way, you need to make sure you’re tracking your progress.

Conversions are definitely a major goal you’ll want to track with your efforts. Jason also recommends tracking things like click-through rate, leads and sales, and how much reach you’re getting.

Proving valuable, relevant, and consistent content is always key. It’s the best way to build relationships and establish trust, as the Source Media team knows.

You may want to track web traffic, community growth, and how many leads/sales you’re getting.

Maureen also knows that your goals are going to be different from what everyone else is doing. However, if you’re new, she said you may want to track awareness by viewing traffic to your site and how long they’re spending on your page. If you’re moving people through your funnel, conversions are key.

Lexie said different types of content are going to have different goals. She said you may want to track website traffic, sales, or social shares.

Web traffic, leads, and community growth are all common metrics to track within your business. As Rebecca said, you want to make sure you see how your audience responds to your content. Make adjustments as needed.

Tony knows goals are going to differ for everyone. Whether you want to see shares, clicks, sales, or something else… You need to focus on what’s right for you.

Q4: Describe your process for building your own strategy. How do you get started?

Ready to craft your strategy? We asked everyone in the chat to share the initial steps in their strategy-building process! Here are some of the answers we received:

Cristy’s advice is to brainstorm. She’ll use paper or a whiteboard to jot down ideas, which she then moves into a spreadsheet. Another tool she’s used in the past is Asana.

Sarah said to start with your goal and work backwards from there. You need to figure out how you’re going to achieve that end result, which will help you plan your strategy.

Clearly defined goals are essential to Jason. As he pointed out, you won’t be able to hit your target if you don’t know what you’re aiming for. Set goals first before working out the details.

Julia knows that a content marketing strategy will look different for every brand. It needs to be targeted to their audience in order to see the best results. Know your topic and then figure out what your audience wants to know and how you can help.

Maureen shared some great advice that’ll help anyone that works with clients. You want to know that the company understands their audience and their marketing before moving forward.

Knowing the brand voice, conducting audits, doing customers research, and more! These are all essential steps to consider.

Know who the target audience is and where they want to go. This will help you create the content that resonates the most.

Debi also agrees that knowing who the target audience is plays a major role.

Q5: What’s something you intend to cut from your content marketing strategy for next year? What will you keep?

Sometimes we notice things that just aren’t working within our strategy, which means it’s time to cut ties. While other times, we see what’s been successful so we can create more of that. Here are some things people will be cutting and keeping in their strategy in the new year:

The team at ThinkSEM is going to focus on being more flexible with their calendar and still plans to join plenty of Twitter chats.

Lexie said Netvantage will continue to focus on high-quality, long-tail keyword content.

One of the things Rebecca will be doing is shifting to even more video content, which continues to be essential for content marketers.

As Debi said, if it’s not working for you then you need to cut it out. If it is working, make sure you embrace it moving forward.

Q6: How do you know if your strategy is effective? Which metrics do you track?

Once you’ve implemented your strategy, you need to know if it’s actually effective. To do this, there are key metrics you’ll need to track. Here’s what you need to know:

As Lexie said, it all depends on the goal of your content. This can differ based on what you’re trying to accomplish, so keep that in mind.

Debi frequently looks at Google Analytics to see how any content marketing efforts are performing.

Julia knows it’s all the conversions! You want to ensure your efforts are actually helping you grow and make a profit within your business.

You might want to track link clicks from other site and search engines, as well as any search terms you’re ranking for. This can help you see how your content is performing.

Cheval focuses on how his blog has grown in terms of readership.

Sometimes you just get that feeling that things are working out! You might notice more phone calls or emails coming in for potential customers, which is always a great thing.

Remember that it all goes back to your unique goals. Once you know what those goals are, you’ll know which metrics are important to track.

Q7: Do you use any tools to help you manage your content marketing efforts? If so, what are they?

With all the tools that are available today, there are plenty that can help with content marketing. Check out these recommendations from Tuesday’s chat:

Debi’s go-to tool is Google Analytics.

Evernote is great for storing ideas and planning content, while Trello is handy for outlining larger projects.

Sarah’s essential tools include WordPress, Teamwork, Google Sheets, good old fashioned pen and paper, and brain power.

Google Drive is a must these days!

Lexie loves using Google Drive, WordPress, and Yoast.

Feedspot, Buffer, and Hootsuite are Carla’s favorite tools.

Cheval also relies on Hootsuite for social media scheduling.

TweetDeck, Hashtagify, Canva, and Pablo by Buffer are all great tools to look into.

Q8: Which resources help you strengthen your content marketing skills?

If you want to learn more about mastering content marketing, take a look at these suggestions:

Lexie know Twitter chats are where it’s at! They’re great for making connections and learning new things.

We have another Twitter chat fan! If you aren’t already joining chats, you should make it part of your content marketing strategy ASAP.

Twitter chats and trainings (online and in-person) are essential for Rebecca.

Julia has a list of blogs she reads daily, including: Content Marketing Institute, Smart Blogger, Copyblgoger, and Copy Hackers.

Twitter chats, podcasts, blogs, email lists, and social media are all great ways to learn new skills.

And here’s a great reminder from Cristy: always be learning and strive to improve.

Want to join the Twitter chat fun? #ContentWritingChat takes place every Tuesday at 10 AM Central! Follow @ExpWriters and @writingchat to stay updated!

#Contentwritingchat

content marketing strategy

#ContentWritingChat Recap: Content Marketing Strategy 101 with Julia McCoy

Do you have a content marketing strategy in place for your brand? If not, it’s time you create one! However, you might be wondering how to get started and that’s where we come in. In this week’s #ContentWritingChat, we talked all about the basics of creating a content marketing strategy of your very own. Keep reading for the recap!

#ContentWritingChat Recap: Content Marketing Strategy 101 with Julia McCoy

Our guest host this week was our very own CEO, Julia McCoy. As a content marketing expert herself, it’s no surprise that she had some amazing advice to share with everyone.

Q1: What is a content marketing strategy and why is it important for today’s brands?

To kick off the chat, we asked everyone to share their own definitions of a content marketing strategy. We also wanted to find out how important they felt it was to have a strategy and why. Check out a few of the responses we received:

As Julia said, a strategy will drive the guidelines, creation, execution, and tracking of your content marketing. She knows it’s necessary if you want to achieve ROI and make goals happen with the content you create.

Kyle feels it’s all about crafting a consistent schedule of content to tell your brand’s story to win over your customers.

Annaliese said having a strategy in place gives you an established process for why you’re doing what you do, plus guidelines on how to do it.

As Maria pointed out, having a strategy is partly about knowing what you want to say, how to say it, where to say it, and who you’re saying it to. These are all essential things to figure out.

This is a great way to look at it! Jeff said your strategy is your road map from where you are to where you want to be. It’s important to set goals and create a plan of action to help you get there.

Q2: Before you can begin creating content and planning your strategy, what do you need to figure out?

Now that you know what a content marketing strategy is, you’re probably feeling ready and inspired to create one of your own. But before you can get started, there are a few essential things you need to figure out. Take a look at these tips:

Julia’s first tip is to figure out what makes you different from everyone else. When you know what your Content Differentiation Factor (CDF) is, you can embrace that and stand out from the crowd. (Read her Search Engine Journal article she linked to if you want to learn more!)

Next, she encourages you to discover who your audience is. She shares four key tips in the graphic she included with her post. You can learn about this more in-depth in the content course she’s creating.

Sarah knows it’s important to know key information about your audience. Who is your target audience and what do they need? Where do they hang out? What will make them convert? This is all important to figure out so you can create content accordingly.

Lexie agrees that it’s crucial to know your audience first. Once you know who they are, you can create the type of content they need in their lives.

Don’t forget to figure out what your goals are. When you know what you want to achieve, it’s going to dictate the end result of your content.

Kyle also agrees that it’s important to know what your goals are ahead of time. Are you trying to increase brand awareness or land conversions? Is it something else? Figure that out beforehand so you can create the content that will help you get there.

Jonathan chimed in about the importance of setting goals as well. Figure out what a successful piece of content looks like to you and what that means before moving forward.

This is a great answer from Jason. He said you want to determine who your audience is, including their demographics. You also need to establish your brand’s voice, the types of content you’ll be producing, and how everything will work together.

Gaby shared an impressive list of things you should figure out before creating content. She said you should understand: brand/content purpose, message, objectives, audience/target, content topic, industry, and brand voice.

Q3: What steps are required to develop a content marketing strategy for your own brand?

Now it’s time to get into the actual steps of creating a strategy that works. Here’s some helpful advice that will get you started on the right foot:

Julia recommends figuring out who your audience is, keywords, and your defined content types/costs. She also suggests having an editorial calendar, creating a content promotions strategy, and knowing how you’ll perform tracking and maintenance.

Know who you’re writing for, which content types you’ll create, and put together a calendar to keep you organized.

Brittany outlined her recommended steps and made it easy to follow along. She says to: gather your insights, outline your business goals, determine your budget and timeline, create personas, establish a process, create calendars, write and edit, and measure.

Roslyn’s advice is to know the demographics of your audience and the best way to cater to them. This is essential in creating content that gets results online.

You need to know who your audience is and where they hang out online so you can reach them. It’s also helpful to identify your brand’s voice as well.

It’s also helpful to know how you’re going to differentiate yourself from everyone else around. With so many people talking about the same things online, you have to spin that content in a way that will stand out and attract your audience.

Q4: What content types are crucial to help your brand become an authority online?

If you ask any brand, most of them would say they’re on the path to establishing themselves as an authority online. They all want to become the go-to resource for their target audience. But what kind of content can you create to help make that happen? Check out these responses:

Julia encourages you to focus on your own website first. Create amazing content for your blog and then build content for other platforms. Other channels to direct your attention include guest blogging and building a presence on social media.

There are a variety of things that will dictate the types of content you produce. It can depend on your brand, objectives, messaging, your industry, your market, your audience, and also the resources you have.

Annaliese agrees there are a few factors that will dictate the types of content you produce. One thing to consider is what your audience prefers. Do they enjoy videos or are they bigger fans of written content? Figure that out because it’s going to play a factor for your brand.

Tony knows that visuals and written content go hand-in-hand and are essential elements for any brand to create.

Cheval’s tip is to start doing live video broadcasts. It’s a great way to humanize your brand and connect with your audience in real-time.

Brittany said she would direct her focus to video content, guest posting, and creating other visuals.

Ultimately, what matters is that you create valuable content that addresses the questions your audience has. When you can deliver what they want and need, they’ll begin to see you as an authority in your field.

It all comes down to sharing relevant content and taking the time to engage with your audience. That’s how you start making an impact in your industry.

Q5: How do you measure the effectiveness of your content? If you aren’t seeing results, how do you make improvements?

In order to know if your content is helping you achieve the results you want, you’re going to have to measure how well it’s performing. Even more important, you’ll need to know how to make tweaks if you aren’t seeing the results you’d hoped for. Here’s some helpful advice:

Julia’s advice is to set up a tracking project in SEMrush. It’ll allow you to analyze rankings, which can be very helpful.

Eddie’s advice is to set S.M.A.R.T. goals and objectives beforehand. This will allow you to see what you hope to achieve and which data you’ll need to track closely.

Mallie also agrees it’s important to know your goals ahead of time.

Again it all goes back to the goal you set, whether that’s reach, conversions, or something else.

If you find you need to make changes, Annaliese suggests making simple changes. Tweak one thing at a time through A/B testing to see what’s working and what’s not.

Kyle also sees the value in running A/B tests to see which images and copy are the most effective.

Q6: What are the biggest mistakes people make when it comes to developing their content marketing strategy?

If you want to set up a strategy that’s successful, you’ll want to avoid some of the common mistakes that can be disastrous. Here are a few examples so you’ll know what to avoid:

You don’t want to be one of those brands without a content marketing strategy, do you? Julia knows it would be a mistake to not have one in place.

Not having a strategy at all is certainly one huge mistake.

Justing winging it and posting on a whim might sound like a fun idea, but it can set you up for disaster.

Don’t be so focused on the money that you immediately start pushing the sale. You need to build trust with your audience first if you want them to convert.

You should be all sales all the time. Instead, focus on building a community with your audience.

It’s more important that you focus on your customers, as opposed to talking about yourself in a self-serving way all the time. Talk to your audience and listen to what they have to say. Learn from them.

Q7: Which tools, calendars, and other resources do you rely on when developing a maintaining a content marketing strategy?

With so many tools and resources available, you’re sure to finding something that will make creating and sticking to a strategy even easier. Take a look at these tools:

Julia’s favorite tools include SEMrush, as well as a few others. They’re worth checking out if you haven’t already!

The Netvantage Marketing team relies on Google Docs as well as a few other tools to get their work done. It’s clear they know what works best for them.

Google Drive tools, Google Analytics, Keyword Planner, Twitter, WordPress, and Yoast are all great options.

Elizabeth’s go-to tools include Evernote, CoSchedule, and Google Sheets.

Sarah is a big fan of HubSpot.

Feedly, Canva, Piktochart, and Buffer are all helpful tools to rely on.

Mallie keeps it simple with an Excel spreadsheet plus a pen and her paper planner.

Danielle said her previously job relied on Google Docs. As she said, it’s not fancy, but it works. All that matters is that you use tools that are efficient and get the job done.

Q8: Which brands do you think are killing it with their content lately?

Which brands are doing an incredible job with the content they publish? Check out these:

Julia loves SmartBlogger, Content Marketing Institute, NewsCred, and CoSchedule.

Lori is a fan of Sue B. Zimmerman’s work.

The Rising Tide Society is one brand that consistently puts out great content.

Be sure to join us on Twitter every Tuesday at 10 AM Central Time for #ContentWritingChat! Follow our accounts for all the latest: @ExpWriters and @writingchat!
#Contentwritingchat

#ContentWritingChat, content marketing strategy

#ContentWritingChat Recap: Creating a Content Marketing Strategy 101 with Doug Kessler

It’s no secret that every brand needs to have an effective content marketing strategy if they want to see results within their business. However, many brands feel unsure of how to get started when creating a strategy of their own. This week’s #ContentWritingChat was all about the basics of creating a content marketing strategy, so there’s no more excuses. You can get started on yours today!

#ContentWritingChat Recap: Creating a Content Marketing Strategy 101 with Doug Kessler

For this Tuesday’s #ContentWritingChat, our guest host was Doug Kessler. Doug is the is Co-Founder and Creative Director of Velocity. He shared some great insights with our audience about content marketing, so you’ll want to read through these tips and start implementing them.

Q1: Discuss the importance of content marketing for brands in 2017.

So, how important is it for a brand to develop their own content marketing strategy? And what kind of results will it provide once they have? Check out these tips from Tuesday’s chat:

Doug said that content marketing has turned into a mainstream strategy.

Julia knows just how important your content marketing strategy is when it comes to marketing. The stats she shared are pretty impressive!

As Annaliese said, content marketing has become expected of brands. She feels it helps you to build an interested audience and can establish you as a thought leader in your industry.

Content marketing can help you build relationships with your customers, which can ultimately lead to more brand loyalty. You’ll see these kinds of results when you do your content marketing strategy the right way.

The Digital Natives team said it’s key for establishing trust and adding value for your clients.

Q2: What’s the first major step(s) of a solid content marketing strategy for any business/industry?

When creating a content marketing strategy for your brand, there are a few steps you’ll have to take in the early phases. Here’s what you need to know in order to get started:

Doug said that the first step to creating a content marketing strategy is getting to know your audience. If you don’t know who your audience is, you can’t create the right kind of content to attract them.

To get to know your audience, you’ll need to do some research. It may be time-consuming, but it’s a must before you can get started with anything.

Know your goals and who your audience is. Once you’ve figured out those two things, you can start planning how you’ll connect with them and what kind of content you’ll create.

Annaliese agrees that it’s important to set goals before you begin creating your strategy.

Take the time to map out the journey you expect a customer to take. This is very beneficial to your success!

Bill’s advice is to list out your business objectives and the needs of your audience. This will help you start planning.

Tony recommends finding ways your audience likes to read and access content. Once you’ve figured that out, you can create exactly the type of content they’re looking for.

Q3: Content marketing vs. traditional marketing (i.e., TV spot): Your thoughts? Is one higher ROI?

Today’s brands still invest in traditional marketing as part of their content marketing strategy. There’s no shortage of ads on television. But is it really the most effective tactic or is content marketing the way to go? Here’s what our chat participants had to say:

Julia shared a link to her post that showed just how effective content marketing can be when compared to a Super Bowl ad.

Kevin’s advice is to figure out who your audience is and where they’re spending their time. Once you know that, you’ll be able to create content and put it directly in front of them on the platforms they’re using.

Keira brought up a great point about how consumers now crave relationships with brands. Those relationships are what help to build trust, which ultimately turns a follower into a customer. Conversations are key to building relationships with your target audience.

As Roslyn said, it’s also easier to track the success of content marketing than traditional marketing. This will help you to really see the results you’re getting from your investment.

Q4: Discuss a few favorite channels/content types that work for you (live streaming, guest blogging, etc.).

The channels and content types that work best for one brand won’t necessarily be what works best for another. It’s important to experiment so you can see what works for you, then make it part of your content marketing strategy. Here’s what seems to be working well for our chat participants:

Doug is a big fan of SlideShade, which we’ve also used here at Express Writers. If you haven’t tried it for yourself, give it a shot and see how your audience responds.

He also mentioned video, which is still very powerful today. Whether you’re uploading videos to YouTube or doing live videos on a platform like Facebook Live, it’s great for your brand.

As Julia said, she sees results from writing guest blogs for other sites and here on Express Writers. This Twitter chat and her book have also worked out well.

When blogging on your own site, make sure you do so consistently if you want to see results.

Annaliese has seen great results with guest blogging. It’s a fantastic way to increase your exposure since you’re able to get in front of a whole new audience. Social media engagement is also great!

For Sarah and the ThinkSEM team, they get the best results from blogging and sharing on Twitter.

Andrea is also a fan of Twitter, as are we here at Express Writers. Infographics are a great one as well!

If your audience is on Pinterest, it’s worthwhile to pin your content there to increase traffic back to your website.

Michelle loves joining Twitter chats. They’re actually a great way to connect with new people and to share your expertise. She also enjoys using the story features on both Instagram and Snapchat.

Meg mentioned email has been very effective for the team at Brandfolder.

Cheval knows that podcasting is great for building his authority within his industry. Even if you don’t see a return on your investment right away, it can happen over time.

Another point for podcasting!

This is great advice from Bill!

Q5: Share some ways to stand out in a sea of content. How do you find and showcase your brand voice?

With so much noise online these days, it can be hard to stand out. How do you do it? Check out these tips:

Infuse everything you create with your brand’s voice. Doug said Slack and MailChimp do a great job with this. Honesty is also important!

Great answer from Michelle, especially her point about authenticity and transparency.

Don’t be afraid to take risks and try new things. If something doesn’t work out for you, don’t get discouraged. Learn from it and move on.

Jeremy said it’s important to test the content you create. This allows you to see what’s working and what’s not. Make sure you’re also being helpful and serving others.

Make sure you’re also expanding your reach by utilizing SEO.

Don’t forget to engage with your audience regularly. It shows them that you’re human and helps to build a connection.

Q6: How can you identify if your content marketing strategy is actually working and generating results?

Once you’ve developed and implemented your content marketing strategy, how do you know if it’s working for you? These tips will show you what you need to track:

Doug’s advice is to measure everything. You can learn a lot by seeing the areas in which you’re growing.

As Kristi said, this is where your goals come in. You need to set goals for the content you create so you can see if it was actually effective. If it is, great! If not, you need to make some changes.

Make success specific and measurable from the get-go. This is great advice from Mallie!

Jacob is spot on with his answer. You don’t want to get lost in a sea of data, so know what you want to measure first.

Be sure to give yourself ample time to reach your goals. Don’t expect results overnight.

Julia knows it’s important to track leads. Your content brings in leads, which ultimately leads to more clients and revenue for your business.

As Sabjan said, it’s all about those conversions.

If people are engaging with your content, sharing it, and eventually becoming customers… You’re doing something right.

Q7: Share some favorite tools you rely on consistently for your content marketing.

If you’re looking for new tools to help with your content marketing, you’ll want to check out this list.

Doug loves using SlideShare and Evernote.

Like Annaliese, we also rely on Yoast here at Express Writers. It’s great for SEO and readability.

Evernote is great for storing ideas and writing drafts. Asana is awesome for project management. And we can’t forget about Yoast and Buffer!

These tools are all worth checking out!

Cheval relies on Post Planner and Buffer on daily basis to put content out for his audience.

Buffer, Trello, and Google Docs are key for Amanda when it comes to her content marketing strategy.

CoSchedule is great for planning out your content!

Q8: Share some predictions or observations on the state of content marketing for 2017 and beyond.

What do you think is in store for content marketing in the future? Check out these predictions:

Those who commit to content marketing will win, while those who dabble won’t.

Julia is predicting new platforms, tools, and smarter systems.

Sarah thinks it’ll become more important to hone in on your audience’s desires, as well as timing and placement of your content.

Now is the time to start committing to video content, as its popularity will only continue to grow.

Tony also agrees that video content is important.

Great visuals for your content will always be important!

Javier predicts that augmented reality will become a lot more common.

Work smarter, not harder with strategic content.

We look forward to seeing you at the next #ContentWritingChat! Mark your calendars weekly for Tuesday at 10 AM Central Time for great chats centered around content writing and marketing. Follow @ExpWriters to stay updated on our new topics and guests!

ALS ice bucket

ALS Ices Out Content Marketing For 2014: The Story

Photo credit: Juan Carlos Reyes

The ultimate goal of content marketing is to draw attention. The signal of successful content marketing is when that attention results in action. The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge has literally iced out content marketing, providing one of the most incredibly perfect examples of the legendary power of compelling promotion for 2014. There’s a great deal for marketers and business owners to glean from this trending phenomena.

How It All Began

Would you believe that the popular challenge did not start out as an ALS Association fundraiser? According to Geoff Herbert of Syracuse.com, the roots of the phenomena date back to last winter when professional golfers were on a mission to gain support for various pet charities. According to The Guardian, the ice bucket craze hit the national radar when golfer Greg Norman issued the challenge to Matt Lauer, host of “Today,” and he accepted on live television.

The challenge comes with simple rules. Once received, you must make a video of dumping a bucket of ice water over yourself, post it online, and then tag Facebook friends and family, challenging them to do the same. Per the rules, you have 24 hours from being “nominated” to take the challenge or your subsequent forfeit demands a donation of $100 to a cause of your choice. The challenge has gone viral, and ALS has become the overwhelming standard.

What’s the connection between ALS and ice water? Just how did it become the overwhelming standard? It all goes back to the family of Pete Frates, a baseball player diagnosed two years ago with ALS. Their campaign fueled the standard and the results…well, they speak for themselves! Let’s consider the scope of this event.

The Legendary Scope

According to the ALS Association, from July 29 to August 27 of 2013 a total amount of 2.7 million dollars in donations was raised. As of August 27, 2014, the ice bucket challenge has rasied $94.3 million since July 29, 2014 from existing donors and 2.1 million new donors.

Icono Square Blog has been tracking the challenge since it went live on TV via Matt Lauer back on July 15, 2014. Using their hashtag tracking tool, they tracked the number of mentions of the two official hashtags: #icebucketchallenge and #alsicebucketchallenge. After logging a total of over 3 million posts, they broke the mentions down per hashtag:

ice bucket challenge 1

Geologically speaking, the mass response to the ALS ice bucket challenge has been primarily rooted in the United States. But it has spread globally with participants from Canada, the United Kingdom, Turkey, Brazil, Israel, Lebanon, Hong Kong, China, and Malaysia. Icono Square Blog also graphed geological stats per hashtag, which show the massive response from the US:

ice bucket challenge 2

Just who has participated in the challenge? The support from some of Hollywood’s favorite celebrities has greatly contributed to its success and viral natural. A few of our favorites who have accepted and passed on the challenge include Robert Downey Jr, Oprah, and Steven Spielberg. And who can forget Tom Hiddleston’s nomination of Benedict Cumberbatch (television’s Sherlock), resulting in this hilarious continuation of the challenge that really captures the fun and reminds nominees to be punctual:

Even Google Jumped On Board

We all know Matt Cutts. He’s the Google guru. We track his tweets and stalk his site because he’s the go to guy for the latest and greatest Google news. He’s the first and last say on almost everything SEO, and when this guy does something, it’s usually followed by everyone and their Uncle jumping on board.

On August 22nd, Matt did his challenge and nominated members of the search quality team, including Brian White, Evan Roseman, and Michael Wyszomierski (aka Wysz). Not only did he say he’d write a check to donate, but he also “earned” his nominations:

With so many credible folks jumping on board, and the results of new awareness raising such a large donation total thus far, there’s just one unanswered question:

Are You Icing Out?

Don’t worry! We’re not going to ask if you’ve accepted the challenge and dumped a bucket of ice water over your head to raise ALS awareness. We’re not even going to ask if you’ve donated. But while we’re on the subject, if you haven’t at least donated to this profound cause, swing over to the ALS Association’s website and make a donation—every penny helps. And if you’ve accepted the challenge and caught it on film, feel free to share your awesomeness with us in this blog’s comments or via our social media.

The truth is the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge has been a legendary example of epic content marketing in action. Crowd-based business models and marketing aren’t anything new, but this challenge has shown the potential benefits for non-profits. The question we’re asking is whether you’ve “iced out” your content marketing this year? And as we fly toward yet another new year, are you going to grab the takeaway lessons from the ice bucket challenge that can bolster your marketing plan?

  • Never underestimate fun and a good cause. Wikipedia notated some of the criticism that has surrounded the ice bucket challenge. It was issued as a means of raising awareness and encouraging donations. It combined a bit of fun with a profoundly good cause. In fact, it’s a safe bet that the majority of people undertaking the ALS challenge had little to no idea of what ALS was until it was issued. While critics like Williams Foxton almost insultingly label it as “a middle-class wet-T-shirt contest for armchair clicktivists,” there’s no denying the phenomenon created since the challenge went viral. It has literally become an international event as everyone from America to the UK take part.

    Takeaway: Never underestimate what a combination of good old-fashioned fun and a good cause can do. Imagine the publicity if your company had originated the ice bucket challenge and helped raise awareness and donations for such a good cause?

  • Create the moment. The ice bucket challenge wasn’t originally made for ALS, but look at what happened when an ALS stricken individual jumped on the occasion. As a brand or business, it’s up to you to create the moment, issue the challenge, and promote it.

    Takeaway: Don’t be afraid to take a risk and create that perfect moment. Chances are it won’t create itself, but if it does, don’t wait around. Jump on the wagon and gain that epic exposure. ALS did, and they’ve landed super attraction at zero cost.

  • How you craft your call to action matters. The ice bucket challenge is a lot like the cashier who asks you to donate a couple dollars to St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital while you’re checking out. Although both causes are great, the ice bucket challenge managed the bigger bang for audience participation. Why? It’s all in presentation. How you entice your audience to action is just as important as what you entice them to do.

    Takeaway: Take care in crafting your call to action. How will you motivate your audience? How will you engage and compel them? Have the answers to these questions firmly in mind before crafting your all-important call to action.

  • Keep is simple and make it easy. Yes, a challenge is meant to be tough. After all, we wouldn’t call it a challenge if it didn’t take some courage or determination. The ice bucket is a shining example of a challenge that takes courage and determination without being too difficult for just about anyone to accomplish. People don’t like hard. They don’t want to climb a mountain just to respond to your call to action. The ice bucket challenge is ingenious because it’s super simple yet still takes some guts to pull off.

    Takeaway: Nobody wants to tackle something that’s terribly tough. People want fun and easy. Find those fun and easy ways to engage your audience, and find the ways that they will respond to. Your challenge could be anything from a snapshot to a click. Another great example of audience engagement comes from Sonic with their “how do you Sonic” challenge. They constantly receive new snapshots, which are displayed beneath the “See Yourself at Sonic” headline on their website.

  • Recognition motivates. One of the awesome qualities of the ice bucket challenge is recognition. In the past few months, it has quickly become a trend. Filming your successful challenge became a form of recognition, and the ALS Association encouraged it by offering handy free downloads like Twitter and Facebook cover image and profile picture downloads to broadcast challenge completion.

    Takeaway: Give your audience extra incentive. Hand them recognition or a cool, free perk for acting on your call to action.

  • There will always be critics. Despite the challenge becoming an almost overnight success of sizeable proportions to the ALS Association, there are critics. Everyone from water conservationists to celebrities has taken a critical stand, bashing the challenge as wasteful and even life threatening. And the truth is they’re right. If someone of poor health dumps a bucket of icy water over their heads (or if the action isn’t performed with common sense), they could endanger their life. If you live in a draught area, or are otherwise surrounded by water shortage, repurposing the water or opting out of the challenge are wise decisions.

    Takeaway: No challenge and no marketing plan will ever be perfect and critic free. You’ll always risk the backlash of haters, and some will have relevant, respectable points. The point is to be ready for criticism, take it in stride, and if it’s constructive and respectable put it to use to improve your strategy.

  • Videos are growing more and more popular. The challenge makes an important marketing point. Videos are beginning to take visual social platforms by storm. With a single 30 to 60 second video, an important message can be imparted that both inspires and entertains. Videos are easy for on-the-go viewers to watch and pass on. They’re responsive on mobile networks. They’re little packages packed with punch that lend themselves to creating huge social signals. Half of the reason videos go viral is because so many people find them easy to connect to in both a technological and emotional way.

    Takeaway: Expand your brand’s message and audience by taking advantage of every media outlet and type available. Videos are quickly becoming the go to standard for businesses that want to make a lasting impression, and this media type hands you endless creative possibilities. It’s the perfect media type for your busy viewers, and it’s a prime means of connecting with your audience on an entirely new level. Videos are easy to share on social media, and they’re even a great way of repurposing content in a trendy fashion.

  • Social media + Content = Unlimited Opportunity. Since the beginning of 2014, we’ve heard all about the benefits of strong, high quality content combined with social media. The ice bucket challenge has done a superb job of demonstrating the sheer value of this winning marketing equation. The challenge has lit social media channels enough to create hashtags and an unprecedented, active response. For the audience member who wants to know more about the cause, the ALS Association’s website does not disappoint. It’s beaming with high quality content that covers everything from the disease they represent to the latest news surrounding the challenge. And now thousands of authoritative websites across the Internet are linking back to them in their own quality content covering the phenomena.

    Takeaway: Content marketing works. High quality content sparks action, and it naturally boosts SEO. White hat SEO strategies really are gold, and the biggest, most effective tactic is high quality content. Combine awesome copy with the power of audience participation via social media channels and you’ve got a winning strategy at your fingertips.

Now that you’ve seen the scope, popularity, and takeaway points from ALS icing content marketing, only one question remains. What will your ‘ice bucket’ content marketing strategy be?

 

market your content

7 Essential Ways to Market Your Content

Your content is written, but your funds are limited. So what do you do? Clearly you would think that you should start looking for marketers to market your content, but those limited funds come right back up. This is a chance for you to save some money and begin marketing on your own. You can still utilize the services from other companies, but this blog is going to help you learn several nifty ways to market your content without breaking your bank account. 

To Market or Not To Market

Believe it or not, there are people who wonder if marketing is important. In fact, you might be one of those! We can tell you that marketing is of the utmost importance when it comes to getting your content and product out there. How else will people find you? How else can they learn about your amazing products and services? Just because you have published your content does not mean it stops there. You have to market or else your other efforts will fall flat and you will notice your site going downhill fast. There are many ways in which you can market your content and according to Convince and Convert, some of these are:

  • Emailing employees on an internal network. If you do not have an internal network, you can still do this via Google+ or sending out an employee newsletter.
  • Social Media news release.
  • Traditional news releases.
  • Appearing on local news stations.
  • YouTube demos for apps and other products.

These are based on what one company did when creating a nifty app to help parents find the best car seat for their children. The app was successful because of the marketing this company did. Instead of treating the release as the end of the line, they advertised their product as much as they possibly could. While some of their methods may not work for your business, following some of what is listed above will help you. Do not neglect marketing or you will live to regret it.

Now, we are sure you are wondering how to market your product, content, and services. We will discuss a few handy tips and products that can help you immensely as you begin your marketing campaign.

1. Great Strategies and Strong Foundations. In order to market your content, you need to have solid content foundation. You cannot just jump into the content marketing game, you need to have a plan and follow it. Strategy is the best way to make sure your content will be noticed. If you do not have a strategy for your content and your content marketing campaigns, you will see it slipping. Once you have a strategy and a strong foundation, you can begin to publish great content and market it wonderfully. A good strategy will help you keep up with your marketing needs, but bad strategy will make you lose more customers and money. Never underestimate the power of great strategy!

2. Street Teams. These have proven to be pretty effective for a lot of groups and companies. Street teams rely on clients to give out information regarding a company or group. These can be done in numerous ways. For example, the International Geek Girl Pen Pal Club (IGGPPC) has several street teams throughout the world. Their teams give out postcards, pins, stickers, pencils, and other things that relate to letter writing. This is a great way for people outside of the IGGPPC friend circle to hear about this group. Because of the street teams, this group has approximately 45,000 site views a month. The street teams combined with social media get the information out there to a huge audience, creating a tremendous success for this year old group. Utilize your social networks and start creating a street team that will be appropriate for your business and content, you’ll be amazed at how much your name will get out there by getting clients to give out information around their towns!

3. Social Media. One of the biggest helps in marketing your own content is social media. It is so important that you have read it a thousand times over, but we keep saying it because a lot of people are ignoring this. Social media is a great marketing technique. A big help in social media is that share or retweet button. When you have an active social media marketing campaign, you will see more and more of your information being shared on the basic social media sites. It is really great when your info starts being shared a lot; it means you are one step closer to going viral, which is absolutely perfect in the world of the Internet and marketing!

While Facebook and Twitter are great ways to market, there are some other social media sites and tools that will help you in your marketing campaign. It is time to start thinking outside of the generic social media box. (And do not worry; we will be discussing these awesome tools in this blog!) As we have said and will continue to say, social media is the greatest way to self-market and promote your content and product, as it gets to a wider audience and can be shared many times over.

4. StumbleUpon. This is a great resource for marketing. StumbleUpon users will “stumble upon” various webpages that have been added. They then rank the web page as being something they are interested in or not, which will help StumbleUpon streamline the web pages the user sees most. This is a great opportunity for your marketing campaigns. Firmology gives a few examples of how StumbleUpon can be used in your content marketing:

  • Add a Page. This is an easy way to promote your page. Go to the drop down menu beneath your profile photo and locate the link that is appropriately titled, “add a page.” From there, you can add links to pages from all over your website. Be sure to add applicable tags so users can find you quicker! Make sure the content you add is engaging and do not overwhelm users with a lot of information from your site.
  • StumbleUpon Plug-in. You can add this to your Google Chrome or Firefox browser to share your content quickly. Just click the little thumbs-up button and you are good to go. If you see that it is already green, that is a great sign! It means it has already been shared on StumbleUpon. That would be an appropriate moment to do a little happy dance.
  • Badges. Yes, badges. Badges are cool. Using a StumbleUpon badge is a great way to get your content shared. The more people who like your content via the StumbleUpon badge, the more other people will see your site. This will assuredly lead to going viral. (Remember, that is what you want!)
  • Payment. The above listed items are the free ways to get your content noticed, but you can also pay StumbleUpon to share your content. This is another excellent way to get your content noticed, but you should keep in mind that it will show as a sponsored post on StumbleUpon, meaning some folks might ignore it.

We can personally attest to StumbleUpon being worthwhile. We have found that certain blogs and infographics are shared quickly. It has really helped to bring in more readers. In fact, our infographic The Era of the Content Beast received 91 shares on StumbleUpon! Pretty nifty, huh?

5. HackerNews. HackerNews is a great way to get your information out there if you are just starting up and you are in the techie and entrepreneurial world. Before you start thinking this is yet another social media platform, it is actually a news source for all in the technological and entrepreneurial realm. If you make it onto the home news feed, you will find your content receives thousands and more visits to your site. It is a great community that is dedicated to a niche topic.

6. Reddit. Following in the same vein as HackerNews is Reddit. It has the potential for a wider variety of topics, so it does not just have to be for tech related companies. Mashable discusses the various ways in which marketers can use Reddit in their upcoming campaigns and points out that this simplified format also gives consumers and readers the ability to discuss the elements they like or dislike. It is a great format to receive client feedback, as many will be able to stay anonymous and will feel freer letting the company know how they feel about certain aspects of the business.

7. HootSuite. You will start to feel really overwhelmed with all of these social media platforms and keeping them up-to-date, but never fear! There is a great app to help you keep all of those social media platforms together in one central location and make sure everything is adequately updated. This is an app called HootSuite. It allows you to add up to five social media accounts for free so that you can monitor them all and update them, as you need to. You can schedule an automatic RSS push to go out from HootSuite to all of your social networks, effectively covering all of the bases. It is a great way to make sure you do not forget about one of the social networks you are using, which is highly possible the more you increase your social media presence.

Be Sure to Use DIY Marketing With Paid and Earned Promotions!

These DIY marketing tips will be very helpful because they will save you a lot of money. They are also perfect ways to interact with your clients on a personal level and make them feel involved with your company. People who feel involved are more likely to share your content with others. However, according to Marketing Land, you need to use your own marketing in connection with paid and earned promotions. In the marketing world, you cannot rely specifically on one form of marketing, because you will miss reaching a lot of different viewers and potential customers.

Let’s take a look at paid and earned promotions and how they will help in connection with your own form of marketing:

  • Paid Promotions. This strategy is a good way for your content to be seen by a wider audience. You can do paid promotions by paying for sponsored tweets or Facebook posts that will show up in people’s news feeds. While some people might skip over the promotions, you will find that many people will start coming your way due to this sponsored item.
  • Earned Promotions. These are simply when you go viral; hence having the title “earned” promotions. Viral content means you have a lot of viewers and readers, it also means that your viewer and readership will grow with each new share. You can also obtain earned promotions by having a visually appealing website, as well as having an easy to navigate website, by writing for your audience and not the search engines, and by making your content easy to share on social platforms.

By combining your own marketing, paid promotions and earned promotions you will see that your content is being viewed more and that your company is beginning to be a tremendous success. Marketing is vital to getting your company running and keeping it going like the Energizer bunny!

In the End…

You cannot forego marketing, no matter what others might be saying and no matter whether you feel awkward or silly marketing for yourself. Self-promotion does feel strange to many people and you may feel like you are constantly trying to make yourself look good, and that is what you want! That is what marketers do already, why not do it for yourself? Go on and begin that self-marketing journey and you will see a significant amount of success for your company in 2014!

 

 

6 Ways to Convince Your Clients & People to Invest in Content Marketing

Content marketing is an incredibly powerful tool that will yield a high return on the investment.

Especially in today’s online era—and as long as it’s done properly and thoroughly.

But, you cannot convince someone to use a strategy or sign up for your services if you cannot express the benefits of why (in other words, the benefits of content marketing).

Showing the benefits, however, doesn’t mean spouting off a list of advantages. It is all about backing up your ideas with facts and presenting your sales pitch in a beautifully wrapped package.

If delivered properly, your recipients will be ecstatic to start using content marketing by the end of the pitch.

So, to help get those customers clawing at the doors to get access to your genius powers, we’re going to help you better understand those benefits and more importantly, show you how to demonstrate them.

You can take the credit.

It will be our little secret.

convince your clients on content marketing

First, Help Them Get Over The Assumption It Doesn’t Work

Unfortunately, even in today’s internet age, there are still plenty of people that don’t embrace content marketing.

The reason you aren’t getting traction with this group is likely because you don’t exploit the benefits of content marketing, and there’s plenty of them to use.

KISSMetrics came out with an insightful blog that highlighted why content marketing strategies are failing. If you think content marketing isn’t worth it, or your clients are rejecting the idea, it is likely because they’re committing a deadly marketing sin of their own. We’ve also written a guest piece on SiteProNews with more on the subject.

What are those sins?

4 Reasons Content Marketing Isn’t Working (So You Can Stop The It-Doesn’t-Work Argument In Its Tracks)

 Before we go into the six major do’s (how to convince), let’s talk briefly about the don’ts, so you’re not unconsciously scaring anyone away.

1. You Don’t Have A Refined Strategy

If you haphazardly threw something together and then prayed it would work, you’re going to be disappointed.

Content marketing requires constant changes, innovations, and updates. If your strategy is even three months old, we recommend changing it up. You’d be surprised at the progress you will make by doing so.

2. You’re Not Putting In The Effort

Again, content marketing requires work. It doesn’t self-automate here. If it did, we’d all be billionaires.

In the content marketing world, you get what you pay for.

So, if you don’t see any improvement, look to see where you’re spending your money and see if you can squeeze more out of the budget to put it toward content marketing.

3. Your Content Sucks, Sorry

Bottom line, content marketing will never succeed when the content holds no ground.

Your content needs to be on point, relevant, interesting to read, and worthwhile for today’s reader with the epically short attention span.

4. There Are Too Many Brand Inconsistencies

A brand should be definitive.

If you read one piece of content from a particular brand, it should have the same tone, flow, and style with every other piece out there. When everything appears disjointed, mismatched, and doesn’t meet up with the mission statement, it won’t be effective, according to Mike Templeman at Forbes.

Now, Let’s Move On To The Good

Okay, now that we’ve dispelled some of the reasons you think content marketing doesn’t work (or the reasons your clients assume it doesn’t work), now we’re going to dive right into why you need to use it.

6 Ways You Can Encourage Anyone To Use Content Marketing

Sure, you need a compelling sales pitch.

But, you can’t just say “content marketing works,” and expect the world to jump on board.

Instead, you need to deliver a convincing pitch that makes it almost seem as though without content marketing, the internet world would fail.

1. Sites With Excellent Content Marketing Grow 7.8x Faster

Content marketers are the leaders in site traffic.

You could be one of those leaders.

According to Aberdeen and mentioned by Neil Patel, each year, unique website traffic is 7.8x higher for content marketing leaders than followers.

The team at Search Engine Journal is one you can reference. (I love them and write for them consistently.)

They keep up with consistent, high-quality content (there’s that quality content reference again), and they are at the forefront of content marketing.

Even better, they churn out over 900,000 unique visitors per month according to their LinkedIn profile.

So, how could you implement this fact and amplify your content marketing strategy?

  • Start working on high-quality blogs. We’re talking long-form, short-form, research and newsworthy reads.
  • Be a leader that sets the standard for your field. Whether you’re blogging about peanut butter muffins or your love for coupons, you need to establish yourself as the authority in that area.
  • Track what other leaders do in that industry, see what they write about, and learn from their examples.

2. Sharable, Great Content Is What Is Trending

Content that people want to read is the cornerstone of a great content marketing strategy.

After all, what is the point of churning out all that content if no one shares it?

A great offering for content marketing managers would be creating shareable content and then actually sharing it on social media for their customers.

This means sharing on brand-owned social media channels, sharing content at the right time on social media, linking up with other similar or competing brands, and providing valuable information that people will continue to share.

According to Pew Research Center:

65 percent of adults now use social media networking sites.

This was a ten-fold jump from last decade. So, if your websites aren’t going viral, you need a strategy to help them capture at least a handful of those millions of people engaging on social media.

Here’s another fact to chew on:

DemandMetric states that 78% of content marketers believe custom content is the future of marketing.

It’s true.

With everything trending online, you need content that is unique, custom and tailored to your readers — the people that will ultimately share your content online.

3. Show The ROI Potential

Everyone wants to see what they get in return for spending money on something.

When you buy something, you are doing so for a reason — and what you buy will improve your life in some way.

The same goes for content marketing.

If you’re offering content marketing, you need to show the ROI potential for someone investing in your service.

Since most are afraid to invest in content marketing, you need powerful stats that help them overcome those fears.

According to Dan Radak at Business2Community, 65% of companies think they’re already overpaying for content marketing — that’s a big assumption to overcome, but not impossible.

The reality is, you get what you pay for in content marketing.

Using traditional marketing tactics to generate leads can cost a business an average of $373. But, when they use content marketing techniques, they can spend less than $150.

So, with more than 50% savings and more lead generation, you already have a great pitch ready to prove the ROI is worth every penny.

Need more inspiration? Jayson Demers at Entrepreneur has some great reasons why people should invest in content marketing — and he may help you cultivate a compelling ROI argument.

4. Conversion Rates Will Get A Big Boost

Conversion rates are a constant struggle for website owners, but with the right content marketing, they don’t have to be.

In fact, it has been shown that content marketing improves conversion rates by six times more than those without content marketing, according to Jodi Harris at Content Marketing Institute.

5. Content Marketing Is What Will Help A Website Survive SEO Competition

Search engine algorithms are constantly changing. Already we’ve seen Panda, Hummingbird, and Penguin.

Before the next animal-themed blast strikes the web, you and your clients need to take control of your SEO strategy.

To do that, you need content marketing.

Content creation currently ranks as the most effective SEO technique, according to a post on Content Marketing Institute. In fact, content marketing is essential when developing a top-ranking page.

6. The Biggest Names Out There Use Content Marketing Managers

Companies from around the world are using content marketing managers to build their brands and increase their revenue. This is because these businesses have realized how trustworthy they become just by creating engaging, custom content.

In fact, the Altimeter Group found that 78% of consumers trust a brand more when they create custom content for their websites and social media.

By creating content that is useful and attracts people to your business, you can increase brand awareness and trust — meaning people are more likely to buy or use your services.

Even better, DragonSearch found that custom content influences 61% of consumers. So, if you have the right skills behind that content, you will see a higher conversion rate.

Ready, Set, Sell! Get People On Board With Content Marketing Today

You now know the things holding back your customers from content marketing and how to reel them in.

The time to set the bait and start encouraging customers over to the content marketing side is now.

With more websites entering the internet each day — and over 1 billion already active according to Internet Live Stats — sites can no longer ignore the need for content marketing.

You have the tools necessary to craft the perfect pitch.

So, take your expertise, use your personality, and of course, boost the stats so that you can entice your customers to take the leap and invest in content marketing.

Not sure where to go from here? Express Writers can help you create custom, brand-worthy content, develop a strategy and even handle your content marketing with ease. Visit our Content Shop to order up our services today.

content writing ideas

20 Topic Ideas for a Steady Content Flow

A lot of content marketers and bloggers have made a firm resolve to produce more content to increase their page ranking. Smart move!

As a serious blogger, you know that every single blog post you churn out breathes life into your content marketing strategy. You take pleasure in turning a website into a watering hole for those who thirst for knowledge on a particular subject. Writing is no doubt the easiest part when it comes to content creation, but the real pickle is coming up with great ideas to keep the reader glued to each crafted sentence. Oh yes, it can be pretty difficult to keep coming up with exceptional content that readers cannot get enough of. Writing good content all the time will require you to be pretty creative.

 

How to Write Good Content? Put On Your Thinking Cap!

Pretend that you are the head fashion designer for a fashion house that makes and sells great clothes and accessories. The challenge is getting your readers to feel the creativity, love, and sheer passion that you put into creating your fashionable pieces in less than 300 words. You do not want your content to read like a boring textbook – most readers cannot stand that! Let’s face it; this is America, where almost everyone owns a fashion line. How do you develop blog content that will help fashionistas and fashion conscious folks find your website and persuade them to purchase from you instead of the other fashion houses out there? This is the part where you simply turn to your creative super powers.

Okay, let’s explore 20 topic ideas for a steady content flow for a fashion house’s blog content. Please take note that each topic idea can actually be recycled and applied to your specific niche to make your blog interesting to read and the go-to resource for valuable content.

 

1. Emphasize on Products’ Uniqueness

You will need to master the art of focusing on the products you sell. One way of not running out of content to post is featuring your individual product pieces in separate blog posts, instead of re-writing the long list of shoes, earrings, gowns, shirts etc. in all your blog posts. You should pick an item and craft content about the item’s unique benefits. For instance, if the dress has a cut that makes the wearer look slimmer and appear taller, then by all means put it in the write-up! For some readers, wearing outfits that will make them appear slimmer and taller is the ideal purchase.

 

2. Tested and Trusted: Customer/Client Testimonials

After posting content that clearly puts each of your products in the spotlight, next you can create complimentary content that contain customer/client testimonials about the product, and then link fresh posts to the older relevant posts. People love to read about products that have been tried, tested, and trusted by other people.

 

3. Reward Readers

Create content to show your love and appreciation to your faithful readers by presenting them with great deals or giveaways. One of the best ways to get more people to subscribe to your blog or website is to use freebies or discount offers as bait.

 

4. Teach Them

Create articles to teach your readers how to use your products effectively and get the very best results. For example, you can create blog posts that will teach readers the following:

  • How to accessorize with a scarf, jewelry, earrings etc.
  • What colors to avoid
  • What colors are perfect for different skin tones
  • How to dress up for a cocktail
  • How to dress for the beach
  • What not to wear at a certain age
  • How to dress your age

It is impossible to run out of content ideas when you educate your readers on the best way to use your products.

 

5. Ask the Experts

Because you do not always have to talk about your products and business, you can search for ways to educate your target audiences. Ask professional models, make-up artists, and stylists to share their profound knowledge with your readers.

 

6. Help Them

Answering your readers’ questions is one way you can help them. For example, provide an answer or answers to questions that you know some of your readers will be dying to ask you. You should always continue to provide helpful tips to readers. Tell them the best ways to achieve a personal look that will help them standout in a crowd.

 

7. Share Stories

One of the great things about having celebrities in the world is being able to tell their stories to inspire, motivate, and even scare people into taking action. For example, you could create content around a fashionable famous person whose style has been copied over and over again. A really wonderful example of a fashion icon is Jackie Kennedy. She was known for her divine fashion sense. You could create an article on how to copy her style and make it your own using accessories from your fashion line. You could also share stories about celebrity fashion faux pas, and how to avoid it.

 

8. A Peek behind the Scenes

You can tell readers stories about a day in the life of a fashion designer. You may not find this interesting to write but there are readers who will be interested in knowing what goes on in a company and what it is like to walk in your shoes. You can also include what practices sets your company apart from the competition and why people choose to purchase your products.

 

9. Use Captivating Images

Tell a visual story with your products. This is especially important if you are in the fashion, sporting, or entertainment industry. Images give prospective customers an idea of what it is like to purchase your product. The pictures must be appealing to your target readers or consumers.

 

10. Share your Ideals

You can use your blog to share your ideas with your readers. One of the great things about blogs is that it gives you the opportunity to tone down legal jargon and make it understandable to readers. Why do you choose to use recyclable material to create your fashion accessories? Why do you choose to provide only quality products to your customers? Why do you take part in worthy community service projects? Use your blog to share your company and personal ideals.

 

11. Share Reviews

You can choose to review beauty enhancing products like wigs, hairpieces and other products and content related to beauty. Are the products or articles useful or a complete waste of time? Be sure to guide your readers to valuable resources.

 

12. Report the News

Talking about trending or important events is definitely one way to get fresh content. You can keep your blog or website content fresh by writing about target personas in the fashion industry on a consistent basis. You can also make announcement on the newest fashion events in town and create content on who was the best and worst dressed at the event. You can even get your readers to grade the best-dressed and worst-dressed person or celebrity at the event.

 

13. Award Shows

A standard blog post is 300 to 500 words, however it is best to create articles with longer word count on special occasions – this is the type of articles Google loves. Google loves articles that offer comprehensive information to readers. In the content, you could talk about celebrities that would be gracing the event with their presence and what they would likely be wearing at the event.

 

14. Predict

Most celebrities are known for wearing outrageous get-ups for big award shows, you can predict which celebrity will come to an award show dressed in something that looks like a movie sci-fi costume and which celebrities will play it safe.

 

15. Tutorials

Consider providing some training on how to make a simple garment or fashion accessory on your blog and see if your readers will be interested in learning from you. Or, you can teach your readers how to use your pieces to create different types of looks. You will be surprised to find out that a lot of people do not know how to dress for certain occasions. Providing them with the information they need to put their best face forward will make your blog more than a virtual clothes-peddling page.

 

16. Go Back in Time

You could go back in time! For instance, you could write about how the ancient Egyptians dressed and how they were fashion pioneers in their time. Egyptian men and women painted their eyes and wore clothes of a unique style, which have even been used in today’s fashionable garments. There is so much to write about when it comes to the history of fashion, technology, arts, sports, architecture, books and so much more.

 

17. Do Not Forget About the Environment

More and more people are becoming passionate about saving the environment. You can give tips and advice on the best way to save the environment by using environmental friendly fashion products.

 

18. Reader Contribution

Readers can share their stories on your blog. They could share their worst fashion mistakes or accessorizing disasters. This will give other readers the opportunity to comment on the post and share their own worst fashion disasters as well. Contributions from readers definitely apply to every industry. Think about it, if you produce content for an investment blog, don’t you think readers will appreciate reading a story (or reader contribution) of how a person lost thousands of dollars on an investment opportunity that seemed promising, only to realize that the offer was bogus? Most of us love to learn from other people’s mistakes or successes.

 

19. Comparison

Comparing one product to another is one way to get the attention of readers. But, you will have to be careful when comparing your product to that of the competition. You will need to be very smart when crafting words to make your product seem more superior to other products on the market. Instead of saying, “the material used in the construction of XYZ garments (the competition’s brand) is inferior to ours.” You could say, “Unlike other fashion brands on the market, ABC Couture does not compromise on the quality of materials used in the designing and production of its garments

 

20. Direct Correspondence

You should not ignore the questions of your readers. You may not have the time to answer all of the questions that they ask, but ensure that you answer most of them in your blog posts. For those who already have an FAQ section, repurposing or updating the text and publishing it in series will be a great idea.

 

In a Nutshell – Create Your Very Own Blogging Arena

Generating top quality content will help you boost your company’s media brand. Blogging is basically a platform that will you make a connection with your target audiences, so that they can trust you enough to type in their credit card numbers on your ecommerce website. When you choose to create blog posts that have a purpose, your blog actually becomes a trusted channel where readers can get valuable and helpful news. Blogs are more than a webpage on the Internet; they are the watering holes where readers come to quench their thirst for good quality information.

 

Doing the Smart Thing

You do not have to focus on running your business and still worry about creating compelling blog posts each day, you can leave the blog content creation to the experts. SEO content writers know how to create interactive, fun, and compelling content to get readers to take desired action. It is easy to think that you can keep up with the demands of creating top quality content, but who are you kidding? Especially when you know that you are up to your ears in administrative work and other stuff that comes with owning and running your own business – so do the smart thing, let the professionals handle your content marketing strategy.